We’re just into the new year and I’ve been giving serious thought as to whether or not I should bother writing New Year’s resolutions. Last year I did and I used an online template. The basic format was this: a word or phrase for the year, something I want, something I need, something I will share, and a way I will succeed. I liked it because it wasn’t just a laundry list and it required a great deal of thought. I looked over it just before year end and I was successful. I could check everything off the list. However, I only wrote things on the list that I was sure I would be able to complete because no one wants to look back and feel like a failure, right? So if I’m only going to write an easy list, then why bother? And if I do some serious soul searching and write a more complicated list it may keep me on track, but I might look back at 2017 and be disappointed with the results. You see my conundrum.
I think that I have found a compromise. This year I’ve settled on choosing a word/phrase to motivate me throughout the year. It will guide my thoughts and actions as well as something that I can mutter to myself when I’m feeling a bit down. I even have one in mind, though I won’t share it here. I feel it’s sort of like a birthday wish in that regard.
But I do have a goal that I will share. I just got some new running shoes after wearing mine to death during pregnancy and then walking them to death afterward. I feel like I got my money’s worth out of those shoes. Most of my running shoes still look pretty enough for casual wear when I’m through with them. These are headed back to the manufacturer for donation. The woman who sold me my new shoes in a half size larger (thanks kiddo) asked if I had any training goals. I’ve never thought of training goals other than run this race or that race. This year I’m putting thought into training goals. I’ve found three 10k races to run and another 10 mile one. The half marathon (that I’ve run a bunch) takes more time than I’m willing to sacrifice this year and 10k is fast and happy. That is the plan. Hopefully I won’t get to that point in the race where I think “Why am I doing this? I want to go home.” I’m thinking I can do a 10k in an hour….wait that doesn’t sound like a goal. I want to do a 10k in an hour. It seems doable with a bit of work (I may not have mentioned previously, but I’m not all that speedy) just as a goal should be. Bring on the 10k because I’m (__insert motivational phrase here____).
In December, we generally celebrate the holiday season. Another thing we do in December is we review the entire year. We review the fashion, the news and activities, and the passing of people that we loved. It’s a great time for reflection because it’s the end of something and we’re all excited to start the next new thing. We also make a few resolutions or laundry lists of things that we can do to improve ourselves and then the following year we repeat the process again and again and again.
But what if we are exactly the same as we were last year? What if we are the same as our 10 year old self? I bring up 10 year olds because I work at a local museum. There I give tours and teach classes to mostly 10 year olds. They are fantastic: They push and shove in line and have a righteous sense of fairness. They also share lunches with friends and translate for the new kid who doesn’t speak English. I’m not saying they are always fantastic. Some of them are absolute jerks like those pushing in line or purposely snubbing potential table mates for group activities. They can be brats. But seriously how much have you changed sense then? I’ve been at the museum for 12 years now. The kids that went through my first classes are now 22. I am guessing that the ones that pushed and shoved in line ended up as managers (or on that track) and making tons of money, those that can’t stop talking might land in some sort of sales position, and the ones translating might end up working their tails off at social service non-for-profits where hugs and smiles are a an acceptable form of payment.
This year while you are reviewing your year I encourage you to think about yourself as a 10 year old. What were you like? What have you lost? How were you different? How can you be better for yourself and for others? Because I am telling you now that no one will notice if you lose 10 pounds.
I know that some people get excited about making New Year’s resolutions. I also know that many people do not. While I respect both opinions and I know that realistically you can choose to change your behaviors at any time of the year, I see no reason that you shouldn’t take some time to review and reflect on your year. I have two reviews a year at my very part time (like 4 hours a week) job for Pete’s sake! And you’ve probably heard about the failures of the Facebook “Year in Review.” (If you haven’t you can read about it here http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/28/facebook-year-in-review_n_6387098.html). This year instead of blindly resolving to do things differently, how about some honest reflection about what you’ve done so far. Seriously, no one can review your year better than you!
Reflection is always good. Especially if you take the time to figure out what didn’t go so well in your life so that you can make some changes. I found the following guide online at a running website of all places. It’s a worksheet of sorts. Sadly, there are no fill in the blanks and you’ll need to supply your own paper, but the thought is the same. You can relive elementary school right now!
I did it. It took me a while…maybe an hour. The highlights were easy, the disappointments went from difficult to gut wrenching, the game changers were, well, game changers, and the things I forgot were mostly unremarkable (but I really should get at them).
But in 2015, there is work to do. So I resolve to put the leftover cookies in the freezer for emergencies only instead of eating them for breakfast.